Historic Conference on Brazil and Global Change in the Americas

Feb. 25, 2000. In First Lady of Brazil Dr. Ruth Cardoso's opening remarks at the Challenges for Brazil conference, she called for collaboration in addressing the challenges that Brazil faces today. A step toward that goal was realized at the conference, which created the opportunity for some of Brazil's prominent political and labor leaders to come together and speak with U.S. representatives of Congress and of labor, as well as renowned academics. About 400 Brazilians and Brazilianists turned out for the event, including representatives of Brazil's major newspapers.

Minister of Health José Serra called for an end to U.S. tariffs on Brazilian goods. Prof. Cristovam Buarque of the Workers' Party addressed U.S. policy as well; in regards to globalization, he said, "Look to the world with Latin America in mind, don't look to Latin America with the world in mind." In addition to globalization, the speakers addressed both international and local labor issues and social problems in Brazil. Many pointed out Brazil's paradox -- while it is a rich country in terms of resources and the business class, it is one of the most unequal societies in the world. Strategies for ending that contradiction were discussed, including education, a reevaluation of government priorities, and workers' rights. In his speech, U.S. Rep. David Bonior (D-MI) raised the idea of Brazil becoming a member of the United Nations Security Council.

Also participating in the conference were: Raul Jungmann, Minister of Land Reform and Family Agriculture; Brazilian Senators Roberto Freire (PPS) and Marina Silva (PT), who received a standing ovation at the end of her opening speech; U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); R. Thomas Buffenbarger, International President of the International Association of Machinists; Luiz Marinho, President of the Metalworkers Union of the ABC region in Brazil; Paulo Pereira da Silva, President of the Força Sindical; Prof. Antonio Barros de Castro, an economist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; Paulo Paiva, Vice President of the Inter-American Development Bank and former Minister of Labor; Prof. Maria Hermínia Tavares de Almeida, a political scientist at the University of São Paulo; Jorge Wilheim, an urbanist and consultant; and Vilmar E. Faria, chief adviser on social Policy to President Cardoso. The moderator of the conference was Prof. Harley Shaiken, Director of CLAS.

Return to the Challenges for Brazil website for more information on participants and versions of many of their conference papers.

Challenges for Brazil

© 2012, The Regents of the University of California, Last Updated - August 25, 2003